With advanced economies seeing modest recovery in industrial production, global trade is estimated to have increased 2.8 percent in Q4/2013 to reach US $2.189 billion. This upturn was influenced by the United States, where economic activity is moving into higher gear as fiscal consolidation eases and monetary conditions improve.
In the eurozone, a slowdown in emerging markets, continuing troubles in Europe's credit markets, and persistently high unemployment still pose risks to economic growth, even as the long European recession comes to a close. In China, meanwhile, strong industrial production, improving exports, and a rebound of credit creation suggests stabilization after a period of decline. But slowing growth, weakening investments, and poorly performing exports are weighing on Russia's economy as well as slowing down emerging markets' trade performance.
China, the United States, and Germany continued to see modest growth in Q4. China's gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to grow by 2.1 percent while its total trade is forecast to increase by 4.1 percent. In the U.S., there is optimism about growing industrial production, and an improving economy is underpinning inflation, limiting layoffs, and lifting consumers' moods, brightening the outlook for growth. U.S. GDP grew by 0.6 percent while total trade increased by 2.2 percent. Germany is expected to record modest GDP growth of 0.5 percent for Q4, as the eurozone crisis took its toll on exports and investments.
Global container throughput is estimated to have grown by 1.5 percent in Q4/2013 (Figure 1). Container throughput in Europe has been affected by the euro crises from 2011 but is expected to recover due to the fiscal measures taken by the European Union. In our Global Trade Index, China retained its leading position in Q4, with the U.S. a close second (Figure 2).